I recently had the opportunity to talk to the very talented Kristen Hudak writer of the Nationals Buzz on masnsports.com
Ok first I just want to say thank you Kristen for taking your time to do an interview for TNW.
So did you have a favorite baseball team or player while growing up while growing up in western Pennsylvania?
"“I did. It was Jay Bell, shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the90’s. I didn’t really follow the Pirates but that was the closest teamto us and we went to a few games.I wasn’t really a Major League Baseball fan, but I never missed a highschool game. My hometown hosts an annual amateur tournament everyyear (AAABA) and it’s a huge deal. For as long as I can remember, Iwent to those games, sometimes as many as three a day.It was always during the first week in August. We also had aFrontier League team – the Johnstown Steal – and I went to a bunch ofthose games too. I was hooked young, I just didn’t have a majorleague team until I moved to Washington D.C. in 2005. I embraced theNationals immediately.”"
So at about what age did you start to really get in to baseball and at what point did you decide that writing about baseball was something you wanted to do?
"“I always loved baseball but I never anticipated or considered pursuingbaseball in any professional sense until the opportunity presenteditself. When I first started blogging, it was just for fun. I was atotal fan. Over the past few years, I’ve learned how to be a“professional fan,” as Miss Chatter describes it.When I finished graduate school at Catholic University in Politics, Ianswered a job listing advertisement that read: “must love baseballand politics.” It was for a public relations firm that worked on avariety of clients, one of which was MASN. I worked there until thispast January and I obviously learned a lot about sports business,sports television and sports media.”"
Well now that we know how you got started on writing about the Nationals lets talk some Nats baseball.
Do you feel that the Nationals are in a better position now than they were when you first starting writing about them back in 07 and are you happy with the direction they appear to be taking?
"“I think they are definitely in a better place today. Most of theplayers on the roster a few years ago are no longer even in the game,so that speaks to the progress the team has made over the past fewyears. I still think they have a long way to go to improve theballclub but I’m hopeful. Strasburg’s debut gave us just a littleglimpse of what this town could be like if the Nationals started towin. It will be incredible.I’m not getting my hopes up yet, but I’m anxious to what JordanZimmermann, John Lannan, Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos can do thisyear.”"
Seeing as how you mentioned Jordan Zimmermann (who is entering his first full season back from Tommy John surgery) out of the three potential starting pitchers coming back from injuries in Zimmermann, Marquis and Wang who do you have the highest hopes for this season?
"“I have the highest hopes for Zimmermann. I believe he’ll make a nicecomeback and be able to contribute in a big way. He’s very motivated andhe works hard. I’d like to see what a healthy Marquis can do, but I don’t havehigh hopes yet. He’s kind of a wild card.”"
With Spring Training underway there is a lot of potentially interesting stories to watch as far as the Nationals go. For examples you have the battle for the starting pitcher rotation (mainly 4th and 5th spot), the battle at left field, potential battle at center field as well as Bryce Harper taking part in his first spring training with the Nationals.
Out of all the potential story lines going in to Spring Training what are you looking forward to the most?
"“To be honest, I’m really excited to see how the catcher battle shapesup. If Flores, Ramos and Rodriguez are all healthy, that could be aninteresting story because each of them can bring so much to the team.All of the other battles you mentioned will be fun to watch too, but remember springtraining can be so strange. Last year, Matt Capps had an awful spring training,but by July, he was in the All Star game.”"
Now that you have been writing for several seasons and have had the chance to do a number interviews which one stands out as your favorite and why?
"“I think I’d have to say interviewing Joel Hanrahan and Saul Rivera atthe World Baseball Classic in Miami. I wrote two stories for MASNduring those games and the experience of being at the WBC was justamazing. Those were two of my first professional interviews and Iremember how excited I was to be taken seriously. I also had anopportunity to meet some of the national baseball writers and to seehow they worked, so that was very rewarding too.Attending the visiting manager’s press conference is always a treat.To be able to hear Bobby Cox, Joe Torre or Ozzie Guillen talk about agame is just about as cool as it sounds.I also like to interview players who are typically overlooked.I think every person on the team has something valuable to share, regardlessof their role or ability to speak English fluently.”"
From following you on twitter I’ve come to learn that you are not just a baseball but a sports fan in general especially football and the Pittsburgh Steelers which brings me to my next question.
If you could interview any one person in the world of sports who would it be?
"“Troy Polamalu. He’s so fascinating. He gives so much back to thecommunity in a very authentic way. He seems thoughtful, smart,sincere and kind. I’m so impressed with him.I’d also love to talk to Vin Scully, Kim Ng, Mike Tomlin, Albert Pujols and Scott Boras.”"
I also noticed that outside of sports you listed volunteering as one of your loves in life so what type of volunteer work is it that you do?
"“I volunteer at Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria. It’s a homelessshelter and they have a number of families that live there. Aboutonce a month I help babysit and play with the children while parentshave life skills classes. It’s beyond rewarding. It helps me keepthings in perspective and reminds me to be grateful for all that Ihave. I can’t stand the thought of a child being homeless.Carpenter’s Shelter has such a great program for helping thesefamilies get back on their feet.Volunteering has always been part of my life – whether at hospitals,nursing homes, tutoring programs, Habitat for Humanity – whatever thecause, I always thought it was important to give back. I love that my bloggingwith MASN gives me an opportunity to go to so many of the communityservice events the Nationals have. To see a sick child light up when John Lannanor Ryan Zimmerman walk into their hospital room, or to talk to their parents abouthow much those visits mean to the kids — there’s just nothing like that feeling.”"
Well Kristen it has definitely been fun talking to you and getting to see what you have to say but before you go there is one last question
What do you feel is a realistic number of wins Nationals fans can expect this season?
"“70-75. I’ll say 72.”"
Again I want to thank Kristen Hudak for taking time out of her day to answer a couple questions for Teddy Never Wins. For anyone who has not already checked out her work I recommend that you do so.
Her older work on a website she co-founded named We’ve Got Heart can be found at
and her current work can be located at
For anyone that is interested in following me on twitter you can do so at